Trebesch, Shelley G. Made to Flourish: Beyond Quick Fixes to a Thriving Organization. Downers Grove: IVP, 2015.
What does it mean to flourish? Beyond simply fixing mechanical dysfunction to enhance efficiency, what does it mean to flourish? That question drives this book. Trebesch has fine-tuned a model of flourishing she calls ECO (“Ecology of Organizations”) and uses it as the structure for her book. She pushes against the concept of a liner cause and effect leadership model and toward a circular overlay (Venn diagram) model. The five components (spheres) of the ECO include vision-mission, internal paradigm, organizational action, people, and context. At the close of the book there is a “Flourishing Developmental Assessment Tool” that allows the reader to determine signposts for different phases in their organization’s growth toward flourishing. Her deep leadership consultation experience provides outstanding analytical insight and leadership team ideas/activities.

I had a bit of a hiccup reading the section on vision-mission (chapter five) since Trebesch completely reverses the definition of vision statement and mission statement as George Barna defines them. That’s not to suggest one is right and the other is wrong (the definitions are actually consistent with the terms reversed). It simply behooves the reader to make the adjustment. Speaking of adjustment, Made to Flourish appeals a great deal to adaptive leadership theory (Heifetz,

Throughout the book Trebesch sprinkles “Stop and Think” sections that include provocative questions for discussion and exercises for application. If you enjoy bullet lists, you will love this book! There are principles to this, steps to that, characteristics of this, and tendencies to that. I applaud and appreciate the author’s skillful integration of solid theology, practical case studies, and leadership theory.

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